14. Chicago Golf Club
C.B. Macdonald (1894)/Seth Raynor (1922)/Tom Doak (2002)
There is an ongoing debate as to whether or not this is America’s first 18-hole golf course. Some claim the first was another C.B. Macdonald creation, also bearing the name Chicago Golf Club, which opened near Downers Grove, Ill. in 1893. But historical records are unclear whether that club had 18 holes or just nine. We do know when Chicago Golf Club moved to Wheaton in 1896, Macdonald laid out what he called, “a really first-class 18-hole course of 6,200 yards.” It was remodeled into its present configuration, emulating famous holes, in 1923 by Macdonald’s longtime assistant Seth Raynor. One thing Raynor retained was Macdonald’s routing, with all the out-of-bounds on the left. C.B., you see, was a slicer.
100 Greatest History: Ranked 1966-68 and since '71. Highest ranking: No. 12, 2009-10. Previous ranking: No. 14
“Simply one of the great walks in American golf through a wonderful turn-of-the-century golf course. Since the 2006 Walker Cup, Chicago Golf Club increased its attention to detail by “polishing” this fantastic course, which included some new tees and renovation of some bunkers. This place is magnificent.”
“Fabulous and challenging green complexes typical of Macdonald and Raynor with several famous hole designs... a Redan, Biarritz, a punchbowl, etc. Good example of how golf courses were initially designed, with wide fairways, many landing areas, and several routes to the green with various challenges and hazards. In short, it was the way golf was meant to be played at a true links course.”
“The greens and green complexes are some of the best anywhere. The false fronts on these old-school, squared-off greens puts a premium on precise approach shots into the proper quadrant of the green in order to have a putt at birdie.”
“One of the greatest examples of how a boring, relatively flat piece of land can lend itself to a world-class design with amazing architecture. From the moment you step onto the turf, you feel a sense of history of this old, timeless design.”
"It was tremendous to see them put on the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open last year. Though it likely caused disruptions for its members, Chicago Golf Club is such an important course in our nation's history—so for it to stand up and host the first playing of a USGA championship is very important for golf in general. And what a treat for anybody who got to walk the fairways of a course of this ultra-private club."